Can Mono Lake survive Los Angeles' need for water? An environmental impact study of the Mono Basin in eastern California predicts severe ecological consequences if the city of Los Angeles continues to divert water in large amounts from streams feeding the lake. Mono Lake and its basin were designated a National Forest Scenic Area in 1984.
The National Research Council (NRC) report indicates that continued diversions would lower the lake level as much as 30 feet (∼9m). Salinity of the remaining water could double and lead to drastic changes in the physical appearance and ecological balance of the basin. In a recently published economic analysis, a University of California, Davis, environmental scientist reports that the lake is far more valuable to Californians than the cost of replacing water currently drawn for Los Angeles from the Mono Basin.